New Zealand's Paul Lasike has signed a futures contract with the NFL's Chicago Bears.
The Auckland-based former rugby player had previously signed with the Bears in September 2015, but visa problems lead to the contract being cancelled. With the immigration issues behind him, Lasike has inked a deal which will see him in a similar situation to Jarryd Hayne, as he attempts to force his way into the team's final 53-man squad.
Lasike previously attended Utah's BYU, where he scored 10 touchdowns in 38 games as he played both running back and fullback.
In an interview with NZ's The Spinoff, Lasike reflects on the long road his NFL dream has lead him down, revealing he came close to quitting after being cut by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2015 pre-season.
“It’s been a freakin’ rollercoaster, man,”
“I remember going to sleep that night (after being cut), and my thoughts then were to hang up on the dream if I didn’t get called back in the next 48 hours.
“It was a real test of patience and there were a lot of sacrifices that went into it. It was really depressing that I got cut — it felt like all the sacrifices I made were for naught.”
Lasike will now find himself in Chicago, fighting for a spot at fullback.
“I’ll be back at ground zero again, but it’ll be a lot easier now,”
“I know the system, and I know the coaches now. You have your foot in the door. That’s where I’ll be next August, in camp with the Bears, trying to crack that 53.”